With enthusiastic and talented actors like Bill Levity and Alex Gallacher in the Valley, we’re sure some way will be found to produce a pantomime like 2016’s ‘Cinderella’ some Christmas soon. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen file)

Lexi Bainas column: (Sigh) No panto this year, but still lots to be merry about this Christmas

It usually quiets down during the holiday season but watch for great New Year’s Eve events near you

If you, like me, were wondering if there’s a post-Christmas pantomime this year, we’re out of luck.

“Oh no, we’re not!” you cry, shocked.

“Oh yes, we are,” I add, sadly.

The Shawnigan Players, who usually produce the popular event, couldn’t find a director for a show at that time.

So, let’s remember all the great pantos past, and hope we’ll see one next year.

***

New Year’s Eve at the Osborne Bay Pub features a three-course dinner, and a chance to dance in 2019 with the Ange Hehr Band. If you want the whole meal deal, it’s $35 per person, but if you come just for the show, it’s $25 each. Visit them at www.osbornebaypub.com for the complete menu and more details.

***

Cowichan author Bill Stenson has won The Hunt For The Great B.C. Novel contest.

He was named the winner of the biennial competition for his novel, Ordinary Strangers, a story built around a child abduction.

Mother Tongue Press runs the contest every second year. Four years ago, Stenson was shortlisted for the award but did not win, but this year things worked out differently.

The novel’s inspiration came from the thousands of people who go missing every year, not only in Canada, but around the world. Many of the missing are children. While most of the missing show up eventually, many do not.

“There are likely thousands of scenarios that explain the perpetually missing,” Stenson says. “Ordinary Strangers is based on one such possibility.”

Stenson was raised in the Cowichan Valley and has recently returned to the Warmland, a place he says that feels like his true home. Ordinary Strangers is his fourth book. In 2016 Thistledown Press published his novel, Hanne and Her Brother, set in the Cowichan Valley.

***

Presley Smith is finishing up the third and final season of the TV show, A Series of Unfortunate Events this year, winding up her great performances as Sunny Baudelaire. The show, based on an adaptation of the Lemony Snicket books, has followed three orphans trying to get away from a man who wants to steal the family fortune. Adventure and wild costuming are all on the menu in this Netflix production.

***

Kim Firth passed along this note: Friday, Jan. 4 there’s a traditional square dance at Cobble Hill Hall, starting at 7:30 p.m. Entry is by a $10 donation.

***

Pat’s House of Jazz in Crofton is taking a Christmas break but the music will return Jan. 13 with another first for the series when Morgan Childs, a Toronto-based drummer, composer, educator and band leader brings his group to perform. Childs is known for his swing feel, sensitivity, versatility and musicality, according to Pat Selman.

***

A special teddy bear named Ghillie will visit Celtic Rhythm Dancers during the coming year.

He’s touring the world starting from Scotland and finishing in August back at Dunoon, Scotland for the Cowal World Highland Dancing Championships. There are only 30 stops and the Celtic Rhythms group was chosen from hundreds of applications for one of them.

Plans are underway now to find the best way to welcome this world traveler, according to Judy Hogg. Maybe a giant teddy bear picnic?

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